n. & v.
n. 1 a colourless transparent odourless tasteless liquid compound of oxygen and hydrogen. °Chem. formula: H
[ 2 ]
O. 2 a liquid consisting chiefly of this and found in seas, lakes, and rivers, in rain, and in secretions of organisms. 3 an expanse of water; a sea, lake, river, etc. 4 (in pl.) part of a sea or river (in Icelandic waters). 5 (often as the waters) mineral water at a spa etc. 6 the state of a tide (high water). 7 a solution of a specified substance in water (lavender-water). 8 the quality of the transparency and brilliance of a gem, esp. a diamond. 9 Finance an amount of nominal capital added by watering (see sense 10 of v.). 10 (attrib.) a found in or near water. b of, for, or worked by water. c involving, using, or yielding water.
v. 1 tr. sprinkle or soak with water. 2 tr. supply (a plant) with water. 3 tr. give water to (an animal) to drink. 4 intr. (of the mouth or eyes) secrete water as saliva or tears. 5 tr. (as watered adj.) (of silk etc.) having irregular wavy glossy markings. 6 tr. adulterate (milk, beer, etc.) with water. 7 tr. (of a river etc.) supply (a place) with water. 8 intr. (of an animal) go to a pool etc. to drink. 9 intr. (of a ship, engine, etc., or the person in charge of it) take in a supply of water. 10 tr. Finance increase (a company's debt, or nominal capital) by the issue of new shares without a corresponding addition to assets. by water using a ship etc. for travel or transport. cast one's bread upon the waters see BREAD. like water lavishly, profusely. like water off a duck's back see DUCK(1). make one's mouth water cause one's saliva to flow, stimulate one's appetite or anticipation. of the first water 1 (of a diamond) of the greatest brilliance and transparency. 2 of the finest quality or extreme degree. on the water on a ship etc. on the water-wagon see WAGON. water-bag a bag of leather, canvas, etc., for holding water. water bailiff 1 an official enforcing fishing laws. 2 hist. a custom-house officer at a port. water bear = TARDIGRADE n. water-bed a mattress of rubber or plastic etc. filled with water. water-biscuit a thin crisp unsweetened biscuit made from flour and water. water blister a blister containing a colourless fluid, not blood or pus. water-boatman any aquatic bug of the family Notonectidae or Corixidae, swimming with oarlike hind legs. water-borne 1 (of goods etc.) conveyed by or travelling on water. 2 (of a disease) communicated or propagated by contaminated water. water-buck any of various African antelopes of the genus Kobus, frequenting river-banks. water-buffalo the common domestic Indian buffalo, Bubalus arnee. water bus a boat carrying passengers on a regular run on a river, lake, etc. water-butt a barrel used to catch rainwater. water-cannon a device giving a powerful jet of water to disperse a crowd etc. the Water-carrier (or -bearer) the zodiacal sign or constellation Aquarius. water chestnut 1 an aquatic plant, Trapa natans, bearing an edible seed. 2 a (in full Chinese water chestnut) a sedge, Eleocharis tuberosa, with rushlike leaves arising from a corm. b this corm used as food. water-clock a clock measuring time by the flow of water. water-closet 1 a lavatory with the means for flushing the pan with water. 2 a room containing this. water-colour (US -color) 1 artists' paint made of pigment to be diluted with water and not oil. 2 a picture painted with this. 3 the art of painting with water-colours. water-colourist (US -colorist) a painter in water-colours. water-cooled cooled by the circulation of water. water-cooler a tank of cooled drinking-water. water cure = HYDROPATHY. water-diviner Brit. a person who dowses (see DOWSE(1)) for water. water down 1 dilute with water. 2 make less vivid, forceful, or horrifying. water gauge 1 a glass tube etc. indicating the height of water in a reservoir, boiler, etc. 2 pressure expressed in terms of a head of water. water-glass 1 a solution of sodium or potassium silicate used for preserving eggs, as a vehicle for fresco-painting, and for hardening artificial stone. 2 a tube with a glass bottom enabling objects under water to be observed. water-hammer a knocking noise in a water-pipe when a tap is suddenly turned off. water-heater a device for heating (esp. domestic) water. water hemlock a poisonous plant, Cicuta maculata, found in marshes etc.: also called COWBANE. water-hole a shallow depression in which water collects (esp. in the bed of a river otherwise dry). water hyacinth a tropical river-weed, Eichhornia crassipes. water-ice a confection of flavoured and frozen water and sugar etc.; a sorbet. water jump a place where a horse in a steeplechase etc. must jump over water. water-level 1 a the surface of the water in a reservoir etc. b the height of this. 2 a level below which the ground is saturated with water. 3 a level using water to determine the horizontal. water lily any aquatic plant of the family Nymphaeaceae, with broad flat floating leaves and large usu. cup-shaped floating flowers. water-line 1 the line along which the surface of water touches a ship's side (marked on a ship for use in loading). 2 a linear watermark. water main the main pipe in a water-supply system. water-meadow a meadow periodically flooded by a stream. water melon a large smooth green melon, Citrullus lanatus, with red pulp and watery juice. water meter a device for measuring and recording the amount of water supplied to a house etc. water-mill a mill worked by a water-wheel. water-nymph a nymph regarded as inhabiting or presiding over water. water of crystallization water forming an essential part of the structure of some crystals. water of life rhet. spiritual enlightenment. water ouzel = DIPPER 1. water-pepper an aquatic herb, Polygonum hydropiper: also called SMARTWEED. water-pipe 1 a pipe for conveying water. 2 a hookah. water-pistol a toy pistol shooting a jet of water. water plantain any ditch-plant of the genus Alisma, with plantain-like leaves. water polo a game played by swimmers, with a ball like a football. water-power 1 mechanical force derived from the weight or motion of water. 2 a fall in the level of a river, as a source of this force. water purslane a creeping plant, Lythrum portula, growing in damp places. water rail a wading bird, Rallus aquaticus, frequenting marshes etc. water-rat = water-vole. water-rate a charge made for the use of the public water-supply. water-repellent not easily penetrated by water. water-scorpion any aquatic bug of the family Nepidae, living submerged and breathing through a bristle-like tubular tail. water-softener an apparatus or substance for softening hard water. water-soluble soluble in water. water-splash part of a road submerged by a stream or pool. water starwort any plant of the genus Callitriche, growing in water. water-supply the provision and storage of water, or the amount of water stored, for the use of a town, house, etc. water-table = water-level 2. water torture a form of torture in which the victim is exposed to the incessant dripping of water on the head, or the sound of dripping. water-tower a tower with an elevated tank to give pressure for distributing water. water under the bridge past events accepted as past and irrevocable. water-vole an aquatic vole, esp. Arvicola amphibius. water-weed any of various aquatic plants. water-wheel a wheel driven by water to work machinery, or to raise water. water-wings inflated floats fixed on the arms of a person learning to swim. waterer n. waterless adj.
[ OE wter f. Gmc, rel. to WET ]